This was my first Anejo and I've got to thank my smoking buddy Ben from Cross Street Tobacco in Baltimore for this cigar. I've heard a lot of great things about Anejos and a lot of trusted friends have recommended them. But personally, I've steered clear because of the price, availability and my feelings about the Fuente brand.
Opus X line and do not include that line in analysis I'm about to .
To read about the Fuente Opus X click HERE (Opus X Review)
To skip my rant on Fuente click to the next page
I've found Fuentes are well-made cigars that have good, consistent flavors. But every Fuente I've smoked has been 'pretty-good'. Not amazing, not memorable, not to die for...just "that was a well-made cigar that had some good flavor." What they lack.......complexity. It seems they keep all that tobacco for the Opus X line. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing Fuente. They make cigars well and are good at what they do. But I've smoked a variety of lines and sizes and I always walk away with the same feeling - hell, most of them taste the same.
Acquisition of the Anejo -
So part of me was hoping the Anejo was similar to the Opus X in terms of complexity and depth of flavor. But the band looks so similar to the rest of Fuente bands that mentally - I couldn't spring the $20-$30 to try a 'so-so' cigar. Then the other day I rolled into my local shop. I put down my bag and claim a comfy seat, say hi to the fellas and as I'm about to head into humidor when.....I realize I have no wallet. A moment of panic is cooled out when I realize I left the wallet in my work pants laying across the couch at home..
My buddy sees my dilemma and hands me an Anejo #49. I couldn't have been happier. Not only did I go from "oh shit....." to "yay!!!" - I was given a cigar I've been wanting to try and can't buy off the shelf. So thanks Ben....I'll get you back next time I see you. Situations like this demonstrate why cigar smokers enjoy the camaraderie of smoking at a local shop. Its the dirty jokes, the conversation, watching the game - the kind of face-to-face interaction that is fading in today's world of technology - but I digress, because I could probably write a book on that topic...Anyways....to the Anejo
Pre-Light - Construction - Look - (Note: I knew nothing prior to smoking)
At just under 8" its a long smoke. The 49 ring gauge is what got me excited. I prefer 40 to 48 gauges, so a 49 was good enough for me. The wrapper leaf is a standard maduro color and other than what looked to be a slight over wrap on a small section mid-way up the stick, the leaf was flawless. The cigar had a slightly sweet aroma - kind of like molasses, but very faint.
The foot had no sweet aroma, but did put off a lot of scent. Kind of earthy, but mostly just fresh tobacco; nothing really stood out with regards to aroma at the foot.
The cigar is extremely well-made. Perfectly firm throughout, and not a dip or dent on this mile-long smoke. It looks good and the sublte sweetness it gives off has me is enticing. I clip the cap and reach for a torch.
Smoking it - 1st Third
The cigar lights evenly and stays that way throughout the smoke. I know thats a bit of a spoiler, but the burn is flawless throughout. The cigar starts off a little flat. I really couldn't distinguish individual flavors, although there was a little spice burning through. But I got to admit I was trying to enjoy my first Anejo and I didn't put a lot of thought into it. It wasn't bad in any way, but I think my expectations for the 'fabled' Anejo were balancing out with what was in my hand.
It didn't take long for that traffic jam of taste to open up. After about 1/2" things changed and I perked up. Like I said before, I had no idea this was a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapped cigar and while I was getting some standard maduro tastes; there was a little added depth that piqued my interest.
A nice medium to medium-full body with a creamy taste and texture. The draw is smooth and full. A slight pull brings a cloud of smoke. 2 1/2" burnt and while I'm not blown away with amazement, I appreciate that this isn't a regular Fuente.
Smoking it - 2nd Third
A lot of taste; but not too heavy. Very predictable Fuente flavors start showing up; nutty, creamy with a medium body. The cigar has flashes of full flavor, and as I approach the midway point, the cigar begins to get a subtly sweetness that is pretty unique. From that point until the beginning of the final third, the cigar has a deep molasses sweetness that I really enjoy.
The overall flavor profile isn't off the hook awesome - but it is pretty good. The resting smoke is sugary sweet and thick. Most of what I liked about this cigar went down in this part of the smoke.
The sweetness starts to fade and the cigar burns a little hot. The smoke is a little harsh. But I smoke fast and this happens to me a lot with longer cigars.
At 7 5/8", this size stick is out of my normal 'comfort zone'. Maybe I'm always in a hurry, or maybe I don't have enough patience for really long cigars but the cigar stopped being really enjoyable and became mildly enjoyable.
A few minutes later I had a little tobacco buzz and was just ready to put the cigar down. Usually I burn cigars to about an inch in size; but I knew with 2" left I was ready to put it down.
All in all, I enjoyed the #49e - I wasn't blown away, but I will give this Fuente a pass on my Fuente theory (detailed in the introduction). Talking about my experiences with some seasoned Anejo smokers, I get the feeling some shorter Anejo vitola might better showcase the line's qualities. At least for my preferences.
After I researched the Anejo and discovered the wrapper is fermented in cognac barrels, a lot of the flavors and uniqueness I tasted made a lot of sense. I'm not taste expert and my analysis of cigar taste is limited compared to most reviewers.(Also I don't want to be douchey and over the top pretentious) But that aging process adds a sweetness and depth to the smoke that is truly unique. I suggest you smoke an Anejo. Go for the size you tend to enjoy and give it a try.
Much respect to the construction of this stick. Damn it was pretty and the burn was immaculate. Check out my review on the Hemingway Classic - Natural. I enjoyed the Anejo more than the Hemingway, but any smoker has to appreciate the amazing build and quality of these cigars.